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Are natural cleansers better for your hair?

Starrynight wants to know: I read in Marie Claire that shampoos formulated with natural cleansers like Aveda, Phyto and Ojon are better for your hair than other brands. What do you say about that?

The Right Brain responds:

Here’s a quote from the article Starry mentions…

“All shampoos contain cleansers,” explains Christyn Nawrot, a regional educator for Phyto. But those with naturally derived cleansers are less apt to rob your hair of vital oils. (Phyto, Lavett & Chin, Ojon and Aveda use natural cleansers in all of their shampoos.)”

Hoo boy! This is the kind of question the Beauty Brains just love because natural is one of the buzz words in this industry that doesn’t mean very much. Let’s take a look at the “natural” cleansers in the products mentioned in the Marie Claire article. (To make it easy, we’re just listing the cleansers, but you can look at the entire ingredient list at drugstore.com):

Aveda (Rosemary Mint shampoo)

Sodium Coco-Sulfate (as known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Laureth Sulfate); Lauramidopropyl Betaine (essentially same as cocamidopropyl betaine); Cocamidopropylamine Oxide

Phyto (Phytocitrus Shampoo)

Sodium Laureth Sulfate; Coco Betaine (same as cocamidopropyl betaine)

Ojon Ultra Hydrating Shampoo

Magnesium Laureth Sulfate (same base molecule as Sodium Laureth Sulfate); Cocamidopropyl Betaine; Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate; Lauryl Glucoside; Glyceryl Oleate

Now let’s look at a product with “non-natural” cleansers:

Pantene (Smooth and Sleek)

Ammonium Laureth Sulfate; Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate; Cocamide MEA

Yes, there are a lot of chemical names here, but you don’t have to be a scientist to recognize that all of these products have either “sulfate” type of cleansers , “betaine” type of cleansers, or some combination. These cleansers can be derived from coconut oil, so in that sense they are “natural” but as you can see, the very expensive “natural” products and the less expensive “regular” products basically use the same types of cleansers!

The Beauty Brains bottom line

We’re not saying there is NO difference between shampoo formulas. The amount of cleansers in the formula and the conditioning ingredients they are blended with can make a tremendous difference. So, we’re not saying any of these products are better or worse than any of the others. (Try them for yourself to find out!) But what we are saying is (and here’s the important part:) None of these products are more NATURAL than the others. That’s the true science! Buy what ever brand you like, but if you’re buying these brands because the company tells you that they are more natural, then you’re being mislead. We hope this helps!

What do YOU think? Have you used any “natural” shampoos that you really like? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.